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extraordinaire

[ eks-tra-awr-dee-ner ]
/ ɛks tra ɔr diˈnɛr /
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adjective French.

extraordinary; uncommon; remarkable.

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

VOCAB BUILDER

What does extraordinaire mean?

Extraordinaire is an adjective that means “outstanding” or “remarkable.” It is always used after the noun it describes, as in a writer extraordinaire.

Extraordinaire is most commonly used to describe a person with exceptional talent. Unlike most English adjectives, extraordinaire is used postpositively, meaning it must immediately follow the noun that it describes.

Example: My grandmother makes the most delicious dishes, and my whole family considers her a chef extraordinaire.

Where does extraordinaire come from?

Extraordinaire, a French word meaning “extraordinary,” is first recorded in the English language around the 1940s. The prefix extra- means “beyond.” The root word ordinary means “normal.” The suffix -aire is typically used to indicate a person characterized by the root word that precedes it—in this case, an extraordinary person. You’ve seen this suffix elsewhere, most commonly in millionaire and billionaire.

For this reason, it could be easy to mistake extraordinaire for a noun, especially because it is always used after the noun or person it describes. For example, a great gymnast could be described as an extraordinary gymnast or a gymnast extraordinaire. Although both phrases have the same meaning, extraordinaire follows the noun. The unusual placement of extraordinaire stems from its French origin. As one of the Romance languages, French calls for adjectives to follow nouns. (The same thing goes for Spanish and Italian.)

Because of how unique extraordinaire is, it is not frequently used. Calling something extraordinary is much more common.

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What are some synonyms for extraordinaire?

What are some words that share a root or word element with extraordinaire?

 

What are some words that often get used in discussing extraordinaire?

 

What are some words extraordinaire may be commonly confused with?

 

 

How is extraordinaire used in real life?

Extraordinaire isn’t a word you use every day. Unless you’re really emphasizing a person’s exceptional abilities, it may sound a bit silly.

 

Try using extraordinaire!

Is extraordinaire used correctly in the following sentence?

His music was extraordinaire.

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